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Choosing a Working Line or Non-Working Line Dog

Not every dog makes a good house dog / family dog. Choosing a working line dog (and this includes dogs from a breeder that breeds hunting dogs) requires serious commitment. Please do not pick a dog because of the way that it looks, or the image associated with having a working line dog. Large numbers of dogs from working lines end up abandoned because owners are unprepared for the time and material investment necessary to deal with these dogs. Working line dogs need far more structure, trainings, mental exercise, stability of routines and proper canine leadership than most pet owners are prepared for or capable of providing.

Working line dogs are specifically bred to be intense, athletic and determined, often with outsized prey drives. They are bred to be persistent. They are bred with strong instincts, and that means that they will often be more engaged in following their instincts and less interested in anything you want. Breeders that produce these dogs often inbreed high performing dogs into the same line multiple times in order to maximize certain traits; but you don't get something for nothing. When you maximize certain traits there are always trade-offs. For example, breeding working line dogs that are always kenneled outside may end up producing dogs with weak bladders. Those breeding for working ability choose traits that maximize skill in the field, not bladder control in your home - though to be fair, this happens with all kinds of breeders. The lack of bladder control probably goes completely unnoticed by the breeder, until you get one of their puppies and have to forever manage its water intake and need to go out to the bathroom regularly.

If you are still interested in a working line dog, please ask yourself, will this dog fit into my lifestyle? Am I going to be doing the work that a working line dog was bred to do on a regular basis? Do I have the time, energy, money, and patience to deal with a dog that will be highly emotional, (whining, barking) destructive, persistent and pushy? Am I willing to invest hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars of professional training into a dog that will be much more interested in following its instincts than pleasing me or listening to what I want it to do? If the answer to any of those is no, then please consider choosing a different dog.


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